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Help! Saddle or Pad leaving bug bite like bump on my horses wither!!

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  • Help! Saddle or Pad leaving bug bite like bump on my horses wither!!

    Hi everyone!!

    I recently purchased a custom Black Country saddle. When I first started riding in it it would leave two "bug bite" looking bumps on the right side base of my horses withers. I had the rep out and he removed some flocking. It took care of one of the bumps but there is still one remaining when I untack after riding in this saddle.

    I had the rep out again and he said that it isn't the saddle, as it isn't touching that spot. He told me to use a bigger pad.

    I have a few problems with this solution.

    1. I'm supposed to be able to ride in a "Custom" saddle with a baby pad only, something to keep the saddle clean, essentially.

    2. The bump is happening in all the pads I try. More so in a baby pad and less so in a fleece, but it's still there.

    3. My horse has never had this happen, reguardless of pads in any other saddle.

    4. I asked about using a half pad and he said no, that it would alter the fit.

    What do I do? I think it's the saddle, the rep says no.....

    I'm thinking of contacting Black Country directly.

    I'm not happy.

    If anyone has ever experienced this before, please share your thoughts.

    I have attatched pictures:

    Last edited by kgro632; Sep. 10, 2010, 02:30 PM. Reason: Updated
  • Original Poster

    Ok, and while reading other threads recently I should say customized.

    However the rep told me they build the tree according to your horses tracing....


    • #3
      Ok, so you need to determine for you self if the saddle is touching that spot while you are riding. Many different methods to determine this in this hard to see area. And yes, for the long withered horse like yours and mine this can be a saddle fit issue! Also it may not occur until you are in the saddle- especially with a english tree which tend to flex a bit more than the french and italian trees.

      1st I would see if I could fit a thin whip down the gullet to that point and beyond (going from front to back while you are mounted) a dressage whip seems to work really well for this.

      2nd If I still could not tell, get some white playdo (cheap ) and make a thick paddy under the area between two baby pads. If the saddle is hitting during a phase of the trot, canter or over fences it will leave a "hole" in the playdo. Even a saddle fitter can't deny that.

      Otherwise, if your saddle never touches the area, it is NOT your saddle even though this hasn't happened with your old saddles. I would however look at how this particular saddle "moves" a saddle pad. It could very much be caused by a saddle pad making a pressure point. My horse developed about 7 bumps like your horse's that had to be injected with small amounts of steroids to go away (that affected his training as they grew). Turned out after 3 years of struggling. He needed to go in "poly pads" for daily training as fitting pads for some reason were creating pressure points due to the way the saddle pushed the pad down as he moved (despite the fact it stayed up in the front of the saddle, that is not what it did under the tree points). A fleeceworks keeps the problem from occurring at long shows where the poly pad is not appropriate.


      • Original Poster

        Thanks! I'll try that!

        I should mention that a friend of mine has the same problem with her Dressage saddle, not a BC, and the same saddle fitter told her to use a bigger pad as well....


        • #5
          Can you get a second opinion from an independent saddle fitter?

          My understanding is that pressure points from a saddle elsewhere (not in the spot of the bumps) cause swelling to come up in bumps along the spine because there is no where else for the swelling to go (it escapes next to the spine). I've been told that if the bumps are gone before your next ride not to be concerned and that they often occur with newly fitted saddles and should go away after the saddle is broken in and adjusted (like a month after riding in it regularly).

          That said I wouldn't be too happy about bumps either and I would seek out a second opinion to a) verify that the saddle was fitted properly in the first place and b) too see if it can be adjusted further c) to get a better explanation. When I see a bump on my horse's spine it's usually about 6 months from my last saddle flocking adjustment (which reminds me pick up the phone for an appointment).


          • #6
            I agree that you need to check out the pressure points when mounted. I had a black country Quantum that had a custom tree for my high withered guy (looks similar to yours in the pics), and I thought the saddle fit great... until another saddle fitter came out (not the BC rep) and had me ride around in it when mounted. I only had about a finger and a half of clearance over the withers after I rode around for a few minutes, and if I tilted to one side or the other even slightly, the tree dug into the side of his withers (put your finger in pommel on the side of the withers then put your weight in one stirrup then the other and see if it pinches on the side). I was shocked after getting the saddle "custom" made. The BC person wasn't the best to work with, so I ended up selling it and getting something that left him more clearance.

            If the playdoh doesn't work (great idea by the way!), some saddle fitters have heat cameras, so they take a picture before and after you ride around to see if there are any pressure points. It'll cost you about $150, but it might be an option before spending more money re-fitting the current saddle or purchasing a new saddle. Good luck!


            • #7
              I had a small bump come up with one of my horses and his customized saddle if the saddle was too far forward. As long as the saddle was positoned correctly, no bumps. My guys bumps were a litttle further back than your horses.

              Make sure your saddle is in the right place. I learned from a saddle fitter that many folks place the saddle too far forward which is what I was doing.


              • #8
                I just went through exactly this, same bump, same location, same after ride appearance, with one of our ponies and his old Pessoa pony A/O. Sent it back to Pessoa and it had a twisted tree. Pessoa was fantastic and they replaced it with a brand new one. While waiting for the switch he got time off from everything but the itty bitty leadliners. Working him in the new saddle now and the bump has been gone. Have them check your saddle to make sure it is not a broken/twisted tree.

                Best of luck. I know how frustrating this can be!


                • #9
                  my mare gets those when i ride in a particular saddle...turns out it is too narrow for her and when she engages and lifts her back the saddle pinches.
                  i don't think your saddle fits correctly. sorry...get another opinion from a neutral saddle fitter.


                  • #10
                    I'm friends with the OP and have wanted to buy a custom as well but now am rethinking the whole thing. And am now even considering my horses' original owner who has an Amerigo that I know fits him for sale.

                    My question is, how do you avoid needing a wither pad? I was confused by that. I thought that high withers will need the padding no matter what? Can someone explain that to me? My guy has TB withers, and a warmblood barrell and shoulders, making his saddle fit tricky.


                    • #11
                      MY mare gets two bumps on the left side of her withers in most saddles. My saddle is probably a little to narrow at this point as she is finally building muscle. Its a county flocked to my extremely high withered TB and she is not as high withered. Her left shoulder also tends to slid down as the chiropractor says and her right hip up so it makes me sit with more weight on the left side I think in part causing the bumps.

                      It frustrating. Maybe I will try some different padding in the mean time till I can scrape some money together to get a new saddle.

                      O and my mares are gone by the time I have hosed her off.
                      I love cats, I love every single cat....
                      So anyway I am a cat lover
                      And I love to run.


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Trixie's mom View Post
                        i don't think your saddle fits correctly. sorry...get another opinion from a neutral saddle fitter.
                        ^This. I had this problem too (about 20+ years ago with a mare I had at the time). She also needed the steriod injections for the bumps because if the saddle fit issue isn't resolved quickly, they tend to stay.

                        I never determined exactly why she got them (though it was a WB mare with a Crosby Sovereign - so likely too narrow). I ended up getting a different saddle for her.


                        • Original Poster

                          I am so angry I could scream!!!

                          If it turns out that my Semi Custom saddle, that was made for my horse is too narrow, I'm going to flip out!!! Seriously!

                          How can that be? How could a saddle fitter and a Black Country rep make this mistake?!!!!!


                          • #14
                            Try a Mattes pad, not the regular half pad, but one of the a/p pads with the sheepskin on the underside, so it is directly on his back. Some friends of mine have had luck using these pads for exactly this problem.


                            • #15
                              I'd try riding without a pad at all and see what happens. Hopefully you already have an idea when the bumps appear and if it is after a short ride w/pad, I'd try a short ride w/o and see what you get.

                              When the rep says "bigger pad" - is that a thicker pad or actually bigger in length/width? My first thought on reading that is there is a pressure point due to the pad pulling somehow across the wither, which maybe would be solved by using a larger (length/width, not thickness) pad and making sure it is pulled up into the gullet somewhat so everything stays smooth and the wither/spine is clear.


                              • Original Poster

                                No he meant thicker pad.

                                I already ride in a a/p square pad and pull the pad up into the gullet, I do the same with my fitted fleece pad.


                                • #17
                                  If you want to try the heat camera, with out paying $$$, call your local fire dept. If they are not a busy station, they might come out and shoot you, if you ask nice and bribe with a donation :-)

                                  I too had these spots. It is what clued me into checking the overall fit of the saddle, and into buying a new one. If you cant tell while mounted, have an independent saddle fitter out.
                                  For a moment there, you bored me to death


                                  • #18
                                    If the saddle is already too narrow, a thicker pad will simply exacerbate the problem. It may be possible for the fitter to remove some flocking from the saddle to improve the fit . . . but it sounds like you may need a different saddle fitter if your current person doesn't see the problem.
                                    Equine Ink - My soapbox for equestrian writings & reviews.
                                    EquestrianHow2 - Operating instructions for your horse.


                                    • #19
                                      I hadn't noticed the photos you added until now. If you have talked to the rep and they aren't helping you at all at this point, I guess I would say call BC direct and see what happens. You could have another saddle fitter come out, but you will have to pay them and they may modify the saddle...so I guess I'd want to approach BC while the saddle has only been modified by their own rep so they can't say the other saddle fitter screwed it up. At least, that is my thought.

                                      You have the pictures so you can even offer to send those on to BC if they want to see them.

                                      I'm not sure why the rep would suggest a thicker pad when taking some stuffing out made it better the first time...I'd still consider trying to go without a pad once just to see what happens.


                                      • Original Poster

                                        That's a very good point I hadn't thought of!